“You have no idea the power of your prayers.” – Toriano “Tory” Mayo
Tory is the pastor of the church I attended when I lived in Austin. Of course, this is a simple truth; however, it reveals God’s power if we let this truth sink in deeply. I hope it sends you further and deeper into your worship of our perfect Creator too, like it is doing currently for me.
These are just 3 of the ways God has used prayer in my life these past three months to help me see more of who He is.
Prayers are powerful because they renew our spirit.
Prayer is one way in which God abides in us and we in him, because he is giving us of his Spirit (1 John 4:15). That’s WHY we feel renewed and at peace. It is in these quiet moments when God uses prayer. Perhaps it’s someone who asks for prayer that we didn’t think would ask. Or someone who sees us praying in public together and asks about it. Or like this:
Recently I moved to start a new job in College Station with friends and former bosses I worked with in college. One day, our boss was not at the meeting because she was having surgery. At the beginning of the meeting, a coworker and long-time mentor of mine said, “Let’s pray before we start the meeting. Bailey, you say the prayer.” I was caught off guard (we all were), but of course I am obedient to whatever the Holy Spirit had commanded my coworker to ask of me. So I start praying for our boss and thanking God for the opportunity to pray together. Afterwards, I found out another colleague was so moved by us praying together that he teared up and left the room during it. I wondered who else felt similarly…
When God uses prayer in this way, it often moves us so deeply that it brings tears to our eyes. It begs us to call upon Him, and in doing so, renew our spirit.
Though many of us have memories of similar experiences where the Holy Spirit moves us, that doesn’t mean we are always inclined to pray when we need to. Have you ever felt in desperate need of prayer but you chose not to pray? And God put someone in your life in that moment that said, “Let’s pray”? A couple months ago, I was driving with a friend and I was telling her how I struggle with grace — giving and receiving it. It was in that moment she said, “Let’s pray about it.” And I thought to myself, “Why don’t I always do that when I am reminded of this way I feel separated from God?” That is just one of the many times someone has unexpectedly said this to me lately, and I am constantly moved by how God uses that simple call to action from loved ones to show me how much I need him. To show me the power of prayer. Moreover, it never fails that when I pray with others my spirit feels renewed tenfold.
That we serve a God who is so willing to show up, in what appears to be ordinary moments like staff meetings and short car rides, is certainly reason enough for us to fall down in worship. That the Spirit moves us to deep emotion to participate in how he is orchestrating the world is more than enough.
Prayers are powerful because they are a specifically holy way of knowing God more.
Just the physical change when we pray is part of how this happens — we bow our heads, we close our eyes, and sometimes we even lay on the floor prostrate in adoration of a Father who is on High. In fact, we should note the posture one takes in prayer and how that may reveal how much we revere and worship our Creator.¹ Reflect on your prayer posture, and consider how a seemingly small thing can significantly alter how you communicate with our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are a multitude of ways God helps us know him more in prayer. These are just a couple of those ways that God has done in my prayer life: Firstly, it helps me say things out loud or in writing that I struggle to articulate to myself or others. This is because he knows me better than I will ever know myself (Psalm 139:2-4). On March 21, for instance, this was what I wrote in my prayer journal: “Lord, Why am I constantly looking around for more things to do and worry about rather than looking upward to what you’ve already done? God, make me childlike and help me to trust you and fear you…. Lord I know you look into the window of my soul and ask to come in. Reveal to me ways I resist you. I toil, oh but you already paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
The vulnerability to admit to anyone, even to God, that we are letting the world lead us rather than Him is not easy. But it is freeing.
“[Prayer is] when you talk to God with the edit button in the off position and you feel safe and heard and loved. It’s the kind of relational exchange you can’t get enough of.” -John Mark Comer, God Has a Name.
“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8
Secondly, He uses prayer to reveal aspects of who He is, bit by bit. (1 Corinthians 13:12). This year my new year’s resolution was to start a prayer journal and write a page-long prayer in it every night. This discipline has become such a sacred part of my communion with God. Halfway through the year now, I’ve been circling back to read past prayers written on that day of the month the prior month. Seeing my different states of mind on different days has shown how consistent He is, and how inconsistent I am. It has shown how quickly I forget things I learned about God the prior month. It has shown me a whole new way God speaks to me — through my past prayers. Specific, unexpected avenues of communing with Him continue to unfold as I read these past prayers and write new ones.
Stop and reflect for a moment: Do you believe God can use new methods to speak to you? What new prayer habits might help pave the way for that furthered relationship with Him?
Check back on Monday morning for part 2 of this blog post, for the most powerful aspect of praying!
¹ Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis